Masonry Stains Add Beauty and Water-Resistance
After living much of his life in humid climates that spawn mold and mildew, John Holwitz knows a thing or two about exterior masonry stains that resist and repel moisture.
by Jeff Woodard
refined the practice of color-staining cement substrates, including masonry walls, on the island of Guam in the early 1990s before moving on to establish the line of Super-Krete products in El Cajon, Calif.
“The climate on the island is very humid, and mold and mildew are continuous problems,” says Tracey Holwitz, president of Super-Krete and daughter of its founder. “[My dad] was able to solve these issues using Super-Krete products.” John Holwitz resurfaced countless roofs, beautified homes, performed many jobs for the U.S. Naval and Air Force bases, and enabled homeowners on Guam to save thousands of dollars on electric bills, she notes.
Last spring, John Holwitz moved to Hawaii, another humid climate. “He’s ready to cover the island of Oahu with Super-Krete,” his daughter says.
The most important step in the Super-Krete masonry stain application process is the same as when staining concrete — the Pene-Krete treatment process. “Alkali content and residue are typically extreme on masonry walls,” says Anne Spahn, Super-Krete marketing manager. “Pene-Krete will treat such conditions while reducing moisture vapor emissions.”
The Super-Krete process for staining masonry walls comprises three primary steps: removing coatings and sealers from the surface to expose the original substrate; saturating the masonry wall with three applications of Pene-Krete at one-hour intervals; and allowing it to cure for 72 hours, followed by high-pressure (3500 psi) water-blasting.
pahn suggests that the walls then be plastered using Super-Krete Bond-Kote “for uniformity or to achieve a monolithic finish without joints.” For interior walls, Spahn recommends Super-Krete Micro-Bond for a smooth finish, followed by sanding if necessary.
According to Spahn, Super-Krete Water-Based Color Stain is excellent against mildew build-up and has high fade resistance. “You can apply Super-Krete Water-Based Color Stains in multiple applications by using an air compressor and spray gun,” says Spahn. Ideally, the spray gun will be an HVLP-type sprayer. “Do not try to achieve coverage with a solid color in just one application,” says Spahn, “and most importantly, don’t allow any runs.”
To keep colors consistent, allow each color to dry before applying the next. Mixing colors together will form brilliant colors, advises Spahn. Spray in light applications at half-hour intervals until the desired color depth is achieved. For multi-coloring, it is best to first create a sample on concrete board. Failure to treat the wall with Pene-Krete will result in an alkaline bleed, says Spahn.
United Coatings’ In-Stone is a water-based, modified acrylic designed to penetrate porous exterior, vertical concrete and masonry surfaces. Shawn Carney, sales manager of United Coatings’ Canyon Tone Stain & Architectural Products in Spokane Valley, Wash., vouches for this semi-transparent stain, which adds color to substrates such as standard or split-face concrete block, pavers, cast-in-place concrete or other concrete and masonry surfaces.
Outstanding color stability and resistance to ultraviolet, alkali and pollution are among the hallmarks of the In-Stone brand, says Carney. “It is integrally locked into the substrate as a result of its low viscosity and microscopic penetration properties, so it preserves existing detail on decorative textures.”
Carney notes that In-Stone is as practical as it is eye pleasing. “When properly applied, In-Stone will not crack or peel,” he says. “And it features a clear base that is tinted with standard accent colors by the local distributor or supplier.”
Many commercial contractors and state departments of transportation use In-Stone, which doesn’t interfere with the natural water-migration qualities of retaining walls. “It will not allow hydrostatic pressure build-up to occur, which can result in peeling and surface spalling with film-forming materials,” says Carney.
When applying In-Stone, the surface should be tested by wetting it. Non-porous or smooth-troweled concrete surfaces that do not readily absorb water pose potential problems and should be sandblasted or acid-etched prior to application, notes Carney. “Application is easy with a brush, roller or low-pressure sprayer. The surface should be saturated and penetrated without run-downs, drips or puddling,” he recommends, adding that the product should be remixed frequently but never thinned or diluted.
Two coats are generally applied, with at least two hours’ drying time between coats. Additional dry time is needed in cool or high-humidity conditions. “You should allow at least seven days for a complete cure,” advises Carney. “And don’t apply if there is a chance of rain, dew, or freezing temperatures within two hours of application.”
Clean-up is a snap; soap and warm water are all that’s needed to clean tools and equipment.
United Coatings points to the Biltmore Hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Cook’s Chasm Bridge Restoration along Oregon Coast Highway 101 as sources of pride. A world-renowned resort hotel, the Biltmore incorporates a distinctive Frank Lloyd Wright design on the exterior concrete tiles. In order to reproduce the original design on expansion and remodel work, says Carney, United Coatings developed “Biltmore Tan” to blend with the original color and finish.
Along Oregon’s scenic rocky coastline, where thousands of travelers pass daily over Cook’s Chasm Bridge, In-Stone was at the center of a recent redesign that required the bridge to have the look of natural stone. In-Stone was tinted to match real stones, applied in multiple colors using low-pressure spray, and brushed to create a “basaltic” appearance. The final touch was a natural stone cap.
The result is a durable structure that beautifully complements the surrounding environment. The use of In-Stone was a key element in the design team’s ability to achieve the desired appearance while also making it possible to meet their budget.